Care & Education
Local services businesses face a uniquely modern challenge of maintaining both a digital presence in a rapidly evolving environment as well as a physical presence in their community. In many cases, your online presence serves as your digital storefront, effectively replacing (and in many cases augmenting) the role of a physical storefront. With the digital space quickly evolving, local services businesses that are able to carefully choose the most effective marketing channels while ignoring the remaining are often more successful than those who blindly follow the latest marketing trends.
Successful local marketing is effectively all about offering solutions and conveying reputability. Both of these translate directly to the digital space. Digital advertising and search optimization are used to help ensure that potential customers find your business when searching for your services while maintaining a positive online reputation helps increase consumer confidence in the services offered.
While each new customer is important for the growth of every local services business, securing repeat business, maintaining a low customer attrition rate, and establishing an effective referral program are all just as important for your business’ long-term health. After all, it almost always costs much less to maintain customer relationships than secure new ones.
Continue reading to learn how local services companies can use traditional marketing methods integrated with modern digital approaches, such as digital advertising to connect with your target audience, social media to convey your business’ reputability, and modern communications methods to nurture lasting relationships.
Many customers seek local services because of a specific and potentially urgent need. Everything about your business and marketing efforts needs to be clear, simple, and convenient for your audience or they will simply choose a competitor that makes receiving their services simpler and easier. Your business and marketing strategy should be founded on best serving your customers in every way possible. To do this, it’s important to not only provide convenient services, but also other forms of convenience for your customers. Convenience and simplicity should be apparent in your services, business model, simple pricing structure and various payment options, website content, contact options and hours, and more. All of these convenient options should also provide accessibility for customers with disabilities.
Your business’s marketing efforts portray what customers can expect when using your services. If your marketing efforts are clear, simple, and direct, then your prospects will assume your services are also clear, simple, and direct, which will encourage them to use you over a competitor because you make it easier for them.
Many consumers who are ready to purchase your services seek out your services when they need them after seeing ads about your business. Advertising local services businesses combines brand awareness initiatives and brand promotion. Digital advertising leverages geo-specific targeting, which not only focuses on your target area, but also helps you gather data on who your ideal customer is. Part of the strategy will be analyzing who is searching for your service and who might be interested in it as well.
For certain local services, it might make sense to create campaigns structured around a sales funnel. In this case, you would soft-sell free stuff in exchange for their contact information, add them to an email list, and nurture that email list and relationship by giving useful information, which would eventually lead to a final conversion or sale. However, for local services businesses whose customers are looking for an instant solution and reach out to you by calling your office or filling out a contact form, creating campaigns around a sales funnel may not work.
Over time, you will fine-tune targeting on all paid advertising platforms, and research your local competition to understand why they’re successful or what they might be lacking that you could take advantage of. You will learn ways on how to lower ad spend and utilize the best keywords by looking at the search term query report to shape the correct traffic to the website, split testing ad copies to improve ad performance, and researching for long-tailed keywords to compete with competitors’ ad spend. All of this is an effort to reduce cost, capture your competitors’ customers, increase ROI by zooming in on high-converting customers, and to further expand your business.
For all types of advertising listed in this guide, it’s vital to the performance of your advertising program to continually optimize. For most advertising types – including geographic targeting, interest targeting, and device targeting – you will optimize by making bid adjustments. Make bid adjustments in increments of 5% when enough data has been collected. Justify bid adjustments only when there is conversion data available and there is either 100 clicks or 1-1.5k impressions. While this is not a strict rule, it is a good practice to follow. It’s best to significantly lower bids for lower-performing devices, interests, and demographics rather than completely excluding them.
For other situations, it’s best to follow the 80/20 rule. Allocate 80% of your budget on high-conversion groups and 20% on lower-performing or experimental groups. Adjust your bid and segments accordingly.
Local services businesses need a strategy when they communicate with prospects, customers, and the community in order to have a positive reputation online and offline. This strategy should be centered around conveying reputability through various avenues, using brand messaging, positioning, and visuals. Conveying your reputability can help increase sales conversion rates, nurture leads, help streamline the sales process, and increase the lifetime value of the customer by encouraging repeat business and referrals.
Many local service businesses are tempted to focus on industry terms when they talk about their business, but this often confuses customers. Instead, it’s important to discuss the problems and challenges your business solves through your solutions (services). When creating content, it’s vital to speak directly to your audience and create content they will understand. Often with local service businesses, customers care less about how you work and more about how you can do the job right in the most effective, cost-efficient way. This means that conveying reputability will focus on customer testimonials and reviews, complete business transparency, and easy-to-understand solutions.
The communications strategy for every local services business should evolve with the business, the customers’ needs, and the industry. To do this, it’s important to monitor how prospects and customers interact with your content. This is where analytics comes in on all platforms – your website, social media pages, and email marketing account. Since marketing communications is all about content, it’s important to constantly monitor what content is read, viewed, and liked by your audience. When content is read and liked, take note for future social media posts, blog articles, emails, and more. When it doesn’t, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this content clear?
- Is this content focused on one topic and purpose?
- Is this content attractive? Consider the vocabulary, images, videos, etc.
- Is this quality content?
- Does this content benefit my audience in some way? Education, entertainment, informative, etc.
- Is this content served in a format that my audience prefers?
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